66 percent of Kentucky kids have used alcohol, 19 percent have used prescription drugs
LEXINGTON, Ky. (May 20, 2014) – The University of Kentucky has been awarded a $1.5 million grant by the state of Kentucky to develop a comprehensive plan for the prevention and treatment of substance abuse by adolescents.
The grant money comes from a $19 million fund administered by the Substance Abuse Treatment Advisory Committee, which was created to distribute monies garnered from settlements with two pharmaceutical companies. It will be used to create and implement “UK Kentucky Kids Recovery,” a program that addresses every stage in the continuum of adolescent substance abuse, including community and physician outreach and education, treatment plans, and outcomes measurement.
“Adolescent substance abuse is at epidemic proportions,” the Kentucky’s Attorney General Jack Conway said at a press conference announcing the award. “This grant will allow us to explore all of the resources available to Kentuckians to fight this growing problem.”
A 2011 study from the Centers for Disease Control documented that 66 percent of Kentucky kids have used alcohol, 37 percent have used marijuana, and 19 percent have abused prescription drugs, said Dr. Catherine Martin, director of UK’s Division for Child and Adolescent Psychiatry and the director for UK Kentucky Kids Recovery.
“Our goal is to develop a start-to-finish plan with elements that offer evidence-based treatment, reach out to teachers, families, primary care providers and pharmacists, and target resources to communities with the highest need,” Martin said. ”The program will utilize only treatments with a proven track record of success.”
UK Kids Recovery contains an additional emphasis on the development of measurable outcomes benchmarks and the need to evaluate and determine the most cost-effective routes of treatment and education.
“We must be able to demonstrate that these resources are being applied using concrete, measurable goals and to benchmark our activities in a way that optimizes Kentucky’s bang for the buck,” Martin said.
Dr. Michael Karpf, UK executive vice president for health affairs, said that this partnership could become a model for other states struggling with the issue of adolescent substance abuse.
“At UK HealthCare, we believe in Kentucky’s youth and their potential to do great things for this state,” Karpf said. “We have the expertise to help these kids get healthy and stay healthy, and we are appreciative of the state’s partnership to aid in achieving this goal.”